Former Butler University basketball standout Gordon Hayward didn't recently land a $128 million deal from the Boston Celtics simply because he was a great guy. Current Celtics coach (and former Butler coach) Brad Stevens' knowledge of Hayward on a personal level certainly didn't hinder his desire to sign the Utah Jazz forward as a free agent, but at the end of the day, Stevens sought talented players – like Hayward - for his roster, but also the right players from a work ethic and attitude standpoint – again, like Hayward.
Those same traits were addressed recently by new Butler coach (and former Bulldog player) LaVall Jordan in his speaking about what he'll look for in future Bulldog student-athletes.
“There is an amazing feeling when you come to this place,” Jordon said of his alma mater. “There are so many intangibles about Butler University that are so well articulated in 'The Butler Way.' It's built on values.”
Those “values” feature traits such as “commitment,” “denying selfishness,” “accepting reality, yet seeking improvement everyday” and “putting the team above self.” All of those characteristics, as well as being talented, are the foundations of what Jordan and his assistants, Jeff Meyer, Emerson Kampen, and Omar Lowrey began seeking Tuesday evening, as the critical July recruiting period got underway.
College coaches will be allowed to evaluate high school prospects each Tuesday (5 p.m.) through Saturday (5 p.m.), for the next three weeks.
The new Butler coaching staff is spending time this week in Spartanburg, S.C., Atlanta, Augusta, Ga., and possibly Milwaukee, as it hurriedly catches up on the recruiting process after just being formed a month ago.
“This place is built on values,” Jordan said. “We use those values as the guiding principle in our basketball program.”
Jordan's predecessor, Chris Holtmann, followed those same “values” and signed the highest-rated recruiting class in Bulldog history last November. Those traits were solid enough to keep four of the five signed student-athletes in the fold when Jordan replaced Holtmann last month, and Jordan doesn't plan on trying to fix something philosophically that isn't broken.
“Those same values will allow us to continue to attract high character, high achievers,” Jordan explained. “We will take a holistic approach, as I think coaching is teaching and mentoring.
“I wouldn't be who I am today without the great teachers and great mentors in the locker room helping me grow from a young adult to a man.”
That last statement was particularly interesting from Jordan, because he is seeking to make a lasting impression – far past the next few years and further than the boundary lines on a basketball court – on the prospects that eventually join the Butler program.
“We'll take a holistic approach to develop our young people so that when they leave,” Jordan said, “they will have life-long habits and they'll be great husbands, great fathers, and community leaders.”
But they do need to be “great” basketball players, as well, and Jordan acknowledged such.
— LaVall Jordan (@LaVall_Jordan) July 12, 2017
“I believe talent and culture win,” Jordan said. “There is certainly a culture of success here, dating all the way back to (legendary Butler coach) Tony Hinkle. It's a foundation of values that was built and set in place by coach (Barry) Collier, through Thad Matta, Todd Lickliter, Brad Stevens, Brandon Miller, Chris Holtmann, and that will not change.
“But you also need talent.”
Earlier this summer, Jordan offered scholarships to Piedmont (N.C.) forward Hunter Tyson and Ben Davis High School forward Aaron Henry.
Butler has three scholarships available for the class of 2018.
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